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Nearly given up.

(19 Posts)
JakesMum05 Mon 15-Aug-05 13:13:43

Sorry if this issue has already been covered but i'm thinking about giving up breastfeeding and i'm just wondering if anyone can give me any practical advise,

My baby is 8 wks old and weighed under 6lbs when born, he also has a tongue tie and as such struggled to latch on at birth. He wasn't premature just tiny. As a result i (reluctantly) gave him a bottle (paed doc said we wouldn't be able to go home if he didn't eat.) When we got home i persevered with breast feeding only to have him scream at the breast and between times. I thought, however he was doing fine but a weigh at just over a week showed he'd gone down to 5lbs ! i was terrified i was starving my baby and started giving him a top up of formula most feeds.

Now he's thriving on mostly formula. I do feed him but he sucks for 10 mins or so and either falls asleep or i check my production and it's finished. If i express i only get 1oz each time out of both breasts - that 1oz altogether.

i really wanted to breastfeed but have resigned myself to the fact i'm wasting mine and my baby's time. any breastfeed i do i feel just turns into him using me as a dummy.

am i right to stop, is there any chance of ever producing enough milk to stop formula ? if he hadn't been so small i wouldn't have moved him to bottles so soon but he was fading away.

i also have an hormonal condition that could be affecting production.

sorry it's so long but any advise would be appreciated


RachD Mon 15-Aug-05 13:26:21

I had to write to you !!!

Sorry you are having problems.
I was in hospital with ds for over a week , until able to go home.Problems that I won't go into now.
You have your own problems.

I struggled a bit with breastfeeding.
HV was useless.
She came to weigh ds and told me , he had lost weight.

(I later found out that this is NOT UNCOMMON)
But she scared me so much, my milk practically dried up overnight.

The fact that I let a silly comment by a silly HV, stop my bf, has been a BIG regret to me.
My friend had similar happen to her and she REALLY regrets the fact that bf was 'taken away from her.
As I do too.

Breastfeeding does take time to get going.
It is very likely that your milk supply will rise.

Like I said, my HV was rubbish.
But the breastfeeding specialists at my local hospital were brilliant.
See if they can help you.

All I want to say, is that if you decide that bf is not for you, then fine.
Do not feel bad.
It is not for everyone.

But DO NOT let some stupid HV, scare you into making a decision that you might later regret.

Guard Mon 15-Aug-05 13:33:02

Probably someone might be along soon who knows more about this - but do what works for you - and makes you feel happy. It is meant to be the happiest time - yet we end up beating ourselves up...
But even for 10 mins he might be getting quite a bit and at least then he gets the antibodies he needs (which is quite comforting when winter starts coming and they get their first cold etc) -and if you both can enjoy it... If he can mix it and have formula he then gets the full amount whatever... Have you tried expressing first thing in the morning (boobs tend to be fuller) and also after every feed to stimulate production ? Also presume you are drinking/ eating/resting enough.... Either way - hang in there my DD2 was rubbish at BF (DD1 was great), and finally when she was really not doing well at 3 months out came the formula and she got colour in her cheeks etc etc - we then mixed it for a while which worked okay...

LIZS Mon 15-Aug-05 13:43:16

Expressing after a feed isn't a good indication of how much youa re producing. The stimulation from a baby sucking and pump can be quite different. If you want to eliminate the formula you may need to cut out the top ups and just offer him another breastfeed a bit sooner than you might otherwise or when he roots again, whichever happens first. This may well be timeconsuming to begin with but as breastfeeding works on supply and demand after a few days you should start to notice a difference but not sure if/how a hormonal condition might hinder it though.

moondog Mon 15-Aug-05 13:53:06

Sorry to hear of your bad time JakesMum.
Sad fact is that the introduction of formula reduces demand on your boobs which reduces supply. It's a vicious circle.

Have you seen anyone about the tongue tie? Rung the Association for Breastfeeding Mothers? If you go to their website, you should find an intersting story of a woman whose son had one. She pushed for a frenoctemy (I think it's called-when it'scut.) In her story,a retired m/w says she kept her little nail long for the express purpose of cutting a tongue tie at birth.

What is suggested to improve supply is a babymoon. Basically,take yourself to bed,strip all your clothes off (top half at least) and allow the baby to suck and suck,ensuring that someone is on hand to look after you.

You will really need to be committed to up supply. Hope that doesn't sound discouraging-just tryin g to be honest with you.

aloha Mon 15-Aug-05 13:58:45

Him 'using you as a dummy' is actually the way - the ONLY way - you can boost your supply and produce more milk. Honestly it is. The sucking of your baby is your body's trigger to make milk. If you take him off and give formula, you interrupt that process. Expressing is no sign of how much milk your baby can get - it just stresses you out.
What is your hormonal condition? Have you sorted the tongue-tie and latch problems?
As for whether to carry on, in your case, it depends on what you really want to do. If you want to breastfeed fully or partially for the health benefits to your baby and your own satisfaction, then let your baby feed as long as he wants. Let him drift off at the breast. Put the telly on, get comfy on the sofa and feed and feed. That is the only way to get your supply up. Reduce the amount of formula you offer as this will cut your own supply.
But If you don't want to breastfeed, then you can stop - you don' t actually need anyone's permission you know!

JakesMum05 Mon 15-Aug-05 15:26:36

Thank you all so much. The advise is appreciated as is everyone's encouragement to do what i want. i feel Hv and GP and MW are too quick to say persevere when my child's health is at risk. However my current HV (who is really lovely) is quite encouraging for me to stop, so thanks RachD for your advise.

i wasn't really given an option to cut the tongue tie as standard but could have gone into it more but the registrar said it wasn't affecting his sucking and he does latch on now. We've been advised to look into it if it affects his speech

Thank you all again, so much your encouragement in either direction is just what i needed. I think i'll carry on as i am, you never know, as he gets bigger he might get better at getting more and the 'vicious' circle improves.

aloha Mon 15-Aug-05 18:45:47

Keep us posted!

drumml Tue 16-Aug-05 04:21:01

I'm sitting here 'double pumping' trying, in vain it seems, to up my milk supply for my little one... wierdly your situation pretty much exactly describes where I am at too - verging on throwing in the breastfeeding altogether. My boy was teeny when born (at term) and was first given a bottle while I was recovering from C-section. All downhill (as far as brestfeeding goes) from there with neonate nurses and paed's recommending substantial formula topups to get his weight up. It is working, but now at 5 weeks old he's taking lots of formula (between 40 and 100mls per feed!) and is pretty rubbish at getting the good stuff out of me! He is very sleepy and will fall asleep at the breast after a couple of minutes.. A great breast feeding counsellor has advised - 1) try switch feeding, where you switch sides whenever he falls asleep to try and keep him interested and get better flow of milk, 2) try 'active feeding' where you basically squeeze your milk into the sucking baby as if you were expressing into his latched on mouth 3) express just after a feed but not just before one, as you are trying to get a good flow when feeding to encourage the little one to get good results from sucking at the breast.

Also, number one should have been, I've been advised to still limit baby's time at the breast to 30 minutes total - any more than that and he's too exhausted to even feed from a bottle. As for expressing, try double pumping, you can usually rent a good machine from hospital or neonate unit. It has increased my paltry amount I could get out (10-20mls) to about 60 mls in half the time! worth the money if you want to persevere. Also try fenugreek (health food shop) or dom peridom to increase supply (ask your doc) Saying all that, my breastfeeding consultant (plunkett family centre here in New Zealand) said my little one was still at least a couple more weeks from being able to feed properly...can I endure the feeding, expressing, bottles story for that long with a two year old runnign around too? Dunno ! I'm giving it another week anyway, I said that three weeks ago and I'm still struggling on.. Good luck to you.

moondog Tue 16-Aug-05 19:40:46've got stamina,I'll give you that.
Sorry you've had such a horrid time.

BirdyArms Tue 16-Aug-05 20:47:54


I feel so sorry for you, sounds like you are being very brave.

I had some problems breastfeeding, my ds was premature and took a long time to start latching on. I found a wonderful breastfeeding counsellor at the local health centre. She was really encouraging and very knowledgeable, much more than the hv's and mw's. Also I met some lovely mums at the counselling group - meeting other people who were struggling just as much as me helped me to keep going and I still meet up with them regularly. You could try to find a private breastfeeding counsellor if you don't have a similar group.

DS is now 5 months old and I am really enjoying breastfeeding. Having said that you mustn't feel guilty if you stop - you have given it a really good go and you shouldn't let it stop you enjoying your little one.

Best of luck

lfm Tue 16-Aug-05 23:19:38

My 3rd son was 6 lb at birth and although he appeared to be a good feeder he didnt actually take much milk and was losing weight. I was told by the hospital breast feeding counsellor that many little babies are just not good at sucking and that they improve at around 6-8 weeks. I expressed until then (luckily expressing wasnt too tricky for me and I could get quite a lot) and I gave him a top up of either expressed or formula after every feed. I also had to increase the frequency of feeds to every 2 hours whereas he didnt naturally feed as often as this. Everyone says top up formula feeding is the slipperly slope and I know what they mean but I do think it can help you keep going as long as you are also expressing and trying to keep your babe feeding. I have experience of all - gave up with ds 1 after 5 weeks and had no problems with ds2. I do think though that not being completely miserable and obsessed about feeding is really important. Sorry to go on but hope it is helpful.

cheekychops03 Wed 17-Aug-05 00:42:32

Hi there
I'm so sorry you sound to have had such a rubbish time. From a personal point of view, if you want to carry on breastfeeding - do it. People tried to get me to stop because of an illness (mine) that started shortly after having my ds. I ignored them and carried on and it helped my self-esteem no end.

From another point of view (I am a trained mother supporter and trainee breatfeeding counsellor)there is help there for you. Its just a matter of being able to find it.
First of all I would suggest contacting your local maternity unit and seeing if they have a breastfeeding/infant feeding specialist. If not, there are several breastfeeding organisations for you to try. I know for a fact that the Association of Breastfeeding Mothers have info on tongue tie and breastfeeding ( or 0870 401 7711). There are also the following organisations:
NCT 0870 444 8708 (8am - 10pm)
La Leche 0845 120 2918 (24 hrs I think)
Breastfeeding Network 0870 900 8787 (9.30am - 9.30pm)

Try those but if you have no luck, send me an email via contact a talker at the top of any of the mumsnet pages and I'll find out someone who is near to you and let you know.

Good luck and well done for what you have managed so far.

Sonns Wed 17-Aug-05 07:47:34

I'm glad you have decided to continue. I am currently breaking my heart cos my wee boy of 13 weeks doesnt want to feed fromme any more, he just wants the bottle!

dotty2 Wed 17-Aug-05 10:12:00

Just a word of encouragement. It's perfectly possible to combine breast and bottle in the long term, if you can't increase your supply enough to just breast feed, but want to carry on. I was in a similar situation to you and have been mixed feeding since my daughter was 2 weeks old, and losing weight. She's now 13 weeks and doing fine. To start with, I topped her up after every feed, and gradually moved over to doing some feeds all breast and two a day all bottle. I also took Dom Peridone to increase my supply as I was reducing the amount of formula. Ask your GP, but don't be surprised if they've never used it for this purpose before -mine hadn't. It's licensed as an anti-emetic (sold over the counter as motilium - it's very safe) but has the side effect of increasing your lactation. Dose is 10mg 3 times a day for 3 weeks.

And don't get too down-hearted about the puny-looking amount that appears in the bottle when you express. It is NOT an indication of how good your supply is. Expressing is a skill, and I haven't mastered it, but then neither has my friend with a super-abundant supply of milk.

Good luck. It is awful when you are spending hours every day feeding, and worrying for every minute of them. But a couple of months down the line, I can already see that there's more to being a good mother than feeding - it just seems so huge at the time.

Aragon Wed 17-Aug-05 14:42:26

Hi there JakesMum,

Sorry to hear you're having such a tough time. I don't think I can add to the excellent advice everyone else has given for increasing milk supply.
For latching problems it's worth trying to latch on while you and Jake are both in a warm bath together. Sounds mad I know but it can help. All to do with the skin to skin contact and the fact that he can smell you and the milk. I have seen babies almost crawling their way onto the breast like this and they latch on superbly. In addition the warm water stimulates milk supply - I can remember dripping milk when I was a bath.
Also as aloha says - don't be afraid of letting him use you like a dummy if that's what helps keep things going in the short term.

However, it's important to do what you want to do - if you want to stop then go ahead and don't feel guilty - you've given him a fabulous start with 2 months worth of breastmilk - just think of all those antibodies he's had.

JakesMum05 Fri 19-Aug-05 18:05:14

I have just logged on to this thread again and i'd just like to say thanks again to the new messages of encouragement.

I never thought registering with Mumsnet would make me feel so much better.

It's nice to know i'm not alone and it's great to get so much advise.

I was considering stopping as baby approached 2months but i think i'll carry on for a bit longer as i am.

Thanks again

aloha Fri 19-Aug-05 18:11:07

That sounds really positive - I think taking it a day/week/month at a time is a good way to deal with it when it's tricky.
I expressed today and got practically zilch, but I know there's plenty there as dd - my huge six month old is still pretty much exclusively breast fed (not v interested in solids, I have to say). Expressing is funny - sometimes there's lots, sometimes nothing, but dd is always happy.

berolina Sat 20-Aug-05 17:50:24

Jakesmum, well done for persevering!
IME moving from mixed feeding to exclusive bf can be done. My ds (now 3 months) would refuse the breast at most feeds for his first 3 and a bit weeks (it all started off with a weight loss and jaundice situation in hospital) and I would never get huge amounts when expressing, so for his first 4 weeks he was getting formula as well, but since then we've been bf fully and happily and he's been gaining a good 5-7 oz per week. Of course, we didn't have the extra issues with tongue tie and your hormonal condition, but I wanted to encourage you. We did it by trying the breast at the beginning of every feed - if he refused he would get whatever EBM there was (I could never express enough to make a stockpile, not even with a hospital pump) and formula if necess, then I would express. It was punishing but we've now had 9 1/2 delightful weeks of painless and mostly wonderful full bf. He still does feed very frequently and sometimes the feeds are pretty long, but it feels like it's worth it to me. Do keep up the expressing - it's not as good as a baby, but it does stimulate the milk supply. I found that ds (6.2lb at birth, 2 weeks early) just seemed to get better at sucking as he got bigger and older.
Good luck

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